Lionel Messi is over it

Written by :
Published on : June 28, 2016

 

 

 

Lionel Messi is totally over it. Arguably the best player in the world, Messi has been the face of Argentina’s national team and the entire soccer world for years now. He just turned 29 and is playing the best football of his life. Routinely making the type of plays that astound viewers and defenders alike, Lionel is in his prime and has helped Argentina become the #1 team in the world.

 

And he’s walking away.

 

After a gut-wrenching loss on penalty kicks to Chile in the Copa América Centenario final, Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international soccer. It was the 4th consecutive Copa América final that he has lost with the national team. When you combine that with a brutal World Cup final loss to Germany in the 113th minute, it’s easy to see why Messi is so frustrated. He has gotten so close on so many occasions and he can’t seem to take that final step to international soccer greatness.

 

 Defeat.

 

When he sailed his penalty kick attempt over the crossbar in last Sunday’s matchup with Chile, the whole world could see how deeply he was shaken. When he later went on to retire from international play, the entire soccer world was shaken. But are we really to believe that the best player in the world is going to quit on his country when he is in the middle of his prime?

 

That’s pretty hard to believe.

 

Rumor has it that other notable players on Argentina’s national team will also reconsider their future with the team. Combined with the frustration of all these close losses in important games is the general dissatisfaction among players with the state of Argentina’s federation. The federation is so dysfunctional that FIFA had to take over it’s management last week, and Messi took to his Instagram recently to publicly lament AFA’s inability to properly coordinate travel arrangements for the team. They can’t get their shit together and because of that the best team in the world might have just blown up, robbing soccer fans of some potentially great moments.

 

 “What the fuck, AFA?” – Messi, 2016.

 

For all of the missed opportunities at greatness on the international stage, Messi’s has enjoyed a great deal of success with his club team. Unlike with Argentina, Messi has reached the mountain top in La Liga. Barcelona has won eight La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and four Copas del Rey with Lionel Messi leading the way. Because of all of this success, and all of the millions of euros he would be leaving behind, it seems highly unlikely that he will retire from soccer altogether.

 

Still it would be a shame if he does indeed retire from international play. We should all hope that he was just speaking out of anger, disappointment and frustration, because it would be a great loss for the entire soccer-loving world to see him walk away now. There’s too much talent in those legs for him to just give up like this. With any luck, he will take some time to reflect and decide to come back to the Argentine National Team in time for the next round of World Cup qualifiers this fall.

 

And if he does decide to leave Argentina’s team for good, I’m sure the US State Department can get him some sort of expedited citizenship so he can suit up for the USMNT… Too soon?

 

 


SOCCER RECAP: USA vs Mexico

Written by :
Published on : October 23, 2015

 

 

 

Saturday October 10th, 2015. 6:30 PM PST. The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA.

 

 

 

USA vs Mexico. Mostly a friendly match with a dash of CONCACAF drama. I had not planned on going to the game but my excellent friends wanted to and threw down some cash on great seats right behind the US goal. I couldn’t say no. The four of us parked on one of the few streets in Pasadena not guarded by game day parking enforcement (or whatever that rent-a-cop garbage unit is) and made the free-parking hike toward the stadium.

 

On the way, we joked about who would have more fans? I mean this is America after all, but it’s Southern California AKA Mexico’s ex-girlfriend, so it should be a toss up. Soccer is really growing in the states. The ladies on team USA are the 2015 World Cup Champions, MLS keeps poaching (aging) international superstars, plus there is finally a real groundswell of support (See: American Outlaws below) across the country. Maybe the times are changing?

 

IMG_3833

 

We wind through the broken beer bottles of the tailgate lot and make our way in just as the national anthems blare. We grab $13 Coors Light drafts (yes, they sell beer for non-college games, Alex) and find our section. As we exit the tunnel, we are instantly faced with the full might of the packed Rose Bowl. I was here just the other week for the UCLA game but this isn’t the same. The arena was electric.

 

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Over 93,000 screaming fans. We get stopped by security as we try and move down the staircase to our primo seats. They tell us that the area is full even though we have tickets. The only way they let anyone down is if they say they have friends holding them a spot. We learn later, that the unofficial team USA fan club, the American Outlaws, took over the section and made it “general admission”, meaning that the staff won’t help us or anyone else get to their correct seats. Real talk translation: “we have no power over the crowd and are trying our hardest to prevent a riot.”

 

image2

 

We wedge ourselves behind a row off the aisle. Doesn’t matter about having a real seat because the entire stadium stands for the whole game. Mexico scores first and it’s instantly clear who has more fans. My old iPhone 4S does its best trying to record the madness.

 

(click anywhere on the window to start video)

 

But this game would stay close. Team USA answered the bell and the American half of the building broke out into song. I hope The White Stripes get money for this.

 

 

(once again click anywhere on the window to start video)

 

After an intense 90 minutes, we found ourselves tied and heading to extra time. That’s when we met Abraham Lincoln.

 

image1

 

But this wasn’t your grandfather’s Lincoln, this fella had the arms on his jacket missing so you could see his buff biceps. And as everybody knows, Lincoln freed the sleeves.

 

IMG_3795

 

I assumed this was a sign that we would win but Mexico was too good, too athletic, too fast. Since the half, the yanks looked like they were playing catch up. Overtime was a gift. One that wouldn’t last. Mexico put the dagger in with only minutes before the end of OT. Penalty Kicks were not to be.

 

I took the loss gracefully. The same could not be said for many of the US faithful. As we left the packed facility, I was overwhelmed by the clever vendors selling their wares to the exiting fans. Mainly, cans of beer, bootleg t-shirts and bacon-wrapped hotdogs. All at a reasonable markup. We grabbed an exit brew and hoofed it back to the car under the chants of “Mexico-Mexico-Mexico.”

 

I’d say it was a bummer, but I can’t. I saw five goals. Lead changes and equalizers, even overtime. It was incredible. Nothing like I had ever experienced. My closing thought (Jerry Springer!) is that everyone should see one real futbol game before they die. Something like this match. It will change you and make you a soccer fan for life. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Oi Oi Oi!!!

 

 

For a less funny recap of the game with GIFS of all the goals go here. Or google it. Lazy.

 

 


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